The Democrats’ convention theme is always one of “optimism,” while painting the Republicans’ convention as dark and pessimistic. Optimism is normally defined as hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something. But, the Obama/Clinton brand of optimism is laden with additional baggage, to wit: hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something while contemporaneously covering up, hiding or utterly disregarding the facts. I suppose it can be labeled “blind optimism.”
It’s the type of political campaign optimism that, in the wake of a terrorist attack, says “Move on. Nothing to see here. No need to worry. After all, these random acts of violence aren’t challenging the very existence of our nation. America is no less safe than it was a week ago. We have it under control. Move on.”
But one can be optimistic and truthful at the same time. While I am an optimist, I also know that grandparents across this nation like never before (in my lifetime, at least) are very concerned that their grandchildren will not experience the American dream as they did. They are concerned that we are leaving them a much more dangerous and fearful world than was left to them. And the older grandparents take it one step further: “I’m glad I’m on my way out. I don’t want to be here when it all comes apart.”
President Obama, if you are not aware of the mood across the land, you are not in touch with the people and no rose-colored glasses are going to make it all go away.
The first night at the Democratic National Convention, First Lady Michelle Obama emphasized what the presidency means to her and presumably to her husband, as well as Hillary. She said, “Hillary understands that the presidency is about one thing and one thing only. It’s about leaving something better for our kids. That’s how we’ve moved this country forward, by all of us coming together for our children.”
When leaders intentionally choose their words with such precision (“one thing and one thing only”), I always pay “close and very close” attention. As the invited agent of Hillary and wife of the President, she set the standard for the Obamas and Hillary, a standard no one should accept as met without critical thinking. Unless you are blinded by such optimistic fluff, you know that over the last seven-plus years: (1) the poverty rate, especially amongst the inner city Black population, has skyrocketed, (2) the unemployment rate for all Blacks, but especially inner city Black teens, has geometrically exploded as compared to Whites, (3) the murder rate in the inner city has gone up dramatically, (4) education in the inner cities is not working for the “children,” and on and on.
The deafening silence from this administration to the war zone in Chicago is tantamount to saying, “Move on. Nothing to see here.”
If someone has information to refute the foregoing inconvenient truths, please let me know. If not, what would be unfair with measuring the two-term Obama and one-term wannabe Hillary standard with the truth? Apparently, according to Michelle, the measure of the Obama presidency is about “one thing and one thing only”: have they used the power of the presidency to “leave something better for our kids?”
So, before shedding a tear of praise and applauding the cheerful and blind optimism of the Obamas and the Obama third-term-wannabe, I want the grandparents, parents and teens in Detroit, Chicago, Spartanburg (S.C.), Houston, Greenville (S.C.), Atlanta, Saginaw (Mich.), Memphis and St. Louis (nine cities labeled as “war zones” by most) to grade Michelle’s self-proclaimed reason to exist. Have they “left something better” for your kids and grandkids?
Oh, I’m not necessarily suggesting the Republicans would do any better. I’m merely suggesting that the Obama standard has not been met, a third-term-Hillary would be more of the same and that this time, perhaps all of you in places where optimism is hard to find need a change. This time, consider that hard truth before voting for sweet phrases, endearing smiles and the only reason completely irrelevant to anything: the first chance to vote for a woman. Aren’t there more important issues on the table?
Move on. Nothing to see here. The Nation has never been in better shape.
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Tad Armstrong is an Edwardsville, Illinois, lawyer, founder of ELL Constitution Clubs (www.ellconstitutionclubs.com) and author of “It’s OK to Say ‘God.’”